Why Are Repairs So
by James Leahy
A fair question and one I get asked almost every day.
How can replacing a $2.00 part cost hundreds of dollars....
Do you give free quotes....
Unlike other repair industries the
electronic and computerized faults that sometimes occur in high-end
audio equipment are often not obvious and often without hours of
bench testing an accurate prognosis cannot be given. Even more so
with challenging intermittent fault problems.
Customers might as well
ask me how much it would cost to cure intermittent Cancer. After a major blow-up
many other components in the signal path are weakened and require immediate
Tracing back this destructive domino effect is
great fun and in most cases you simply do not know how extensive the
damage is at first glance. Many times when you are inspecting the
equipment and working on giving an estimation of repair costs to the customer you have already fixed the fault in the
process. How are you going to quote on that after many hours invested
already finding what is wrong with the equipment....
Today technicians at trade school are taught to
isolate the fault into the most obvious area. Being, input circuit,
output circuit, power supply or digital/computer controlled circuit.
Any unthinking robot can be trained fairly basically to do this low brow
level of work. This is the easy way with today's modular type construction of electronics and
you simply replace that entire circuit board, defective channel or mechanism. This
is all well and good when the equipment you are working on is less than
3 years old and OEM parts through the appropriate manufacturer are
still available. Quotations on parts and labour are easily calculated
and the job can be completed and the customer is happy.
Not so when you are presented with older equipment
where factory support is lacking and/or OEM parts are not available. In
cases like these you need an A1 Level Technician that is qualified to
work down to an individual component level and replace or repair the
unit with substitute or equivalent parts. This level of expertise is
significantly higher than your normal repair centre type work and as
such so are the costs of repair significantly higher to compensate for
such specialized work.
It is for the reasons above that we do not give
fixed quotes on complicated repairs that we choose to accept. Only
estimations on the likely total cost outcome can be given at the time of
acceptance and if complications are experienced during the course of the
operation the customer is notified of the situation. People are not
computers. We have a panel of technicians that we use to do a wide
assortment of repair work. Different technicians are more specialized in
one area of electronics than another. For example I would not give a
laser replacement or complicated up-grade re-capping rebuild to one of
our technicians who is more experienced in mechanical motor rebuilding
Every man has their limitations and this does not mean that
either is better or less qualified at their trade. It is experience that
ultimately carries the most weight in this world and I as an employer
place very little value in fancy certificates of those that I am
considering using as a suitable repairer for my business. At he opposite
end of the totem pole I know a qualified Electronic Engineer who cannot
even set-up a TIVO and this unit was made for the biggest Nuff Nuff out
there to be able to self install and use. Experience counts more than